The quest on how to become a doctor in New Zealand and other nations of the world is on the increase most especially for the students that are science inclined and pressure from parents that desire to have their children as a doctor.
It requires patience and hard work to achieve, though, in the end, it would be worth it.
Interested in knowing how to become a doctor in New Zealand? don’t worry you are fortunate to have come across this article.
Your love for health and humanity is guided on how to become a doctor in New Zealand. Read carefully and attentively, we promise you will get the right information for your journey.
Overview on how to become a doctor in New Zealand
There are many requirements and steps involved in how to become a doctor in New Zealand. This journey starts from secondary school to university where you have other opportunities to explore a medical career.
If you want to learn how to become a medical doctor in New Zealand, it is recommended you consider the time duration, which might take more than 10 years from your secondary school.
New Zealand having one of the best healthcare systems in the world, makes them take utmost care in training their doctors and other health practitioners.
How to become a doctor in New Zealand
There are two places you can study medicine in New Zealand, and they each have their own first-year pathways to study medicine:
University of Auckland
Health Science, or Biomedicine
University of Otago
Health Sciences First Year (HSFY)
In New Zealand, your high school grades aren’t as important because you’ll need to complete one year of a degree prior to applying to medical school.
The grade you get will determine if you will be admitted or not, therefore, you don’t need to sit for UCAT until you are in the university.
Steps and requirements on how to become a doctor in New Zealand
- You need to complete a 1-year degree program
- A 5-6 year Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) degree at the University of Otago or Auckland
- You need to work as a trainee intern in a hospital
- Work as a house officer for about 12 months
- Getting registered with the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ)
- Working as a registrar doctor
- Another 6 years of specialist training and examinations to become a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians might be required
You need to complete a 1-year degree program
As earlier stated, your high school grades are not crucial like in the case of Australia, because you’ll need to complete one year of a degree prior to applying to medical school.
The Health Sciences First Year program at the University of Otago, or the first year of either the Bachelor of Health Sciences or Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science at Auckland University is the first step of your journey into the medical school as stated earlier.
Success in this first year of study is a determinant of you moving to a medical school proper.
A 5-6 year Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBChB) degree at the University of Otago or Auckland
This is a crucial step on how to become a doctor in New Zealand; it is followed by an online application into any of the medical schools where your credentials will be evaluated.
Also, you are then selected for entry to a medical or dental school based on academic performance in the 1-year degree program and also an interview in some cases.
The first two years are focused on the introductory aspect of medicine which is theory base, while the third year also comes with limited clinical exposure. The theoretical focus is mostly on basic human anatomy, physiology, microbiology, and biochemistry.
Starting from year 4, there is a 2-year clinical period that ends with a final exam at the end of year 5.
Before the final exam, students are placed at Wellington, Christchurch, or Dunedin.
Once you are placed at a hospital, you and your fellow med students are split into groups and rotate between modules, with assessments at the end of each module.
You’ll also attend some lectures in between your time at the hospital. At the end of the 5th year, you sit practical and written examinations that cover the content from the past two years.
Your performance on these examinations will determine whether you can progress to the final year, which gives you the position of a trainee intern in a hospital and moves you closer to the junior doctor status.
You need to work as a trainee intern in a hospital
As part of your registration process to become a licensed doctor in New Zealand, you will be asked to provide proof of your qualifications which are not limited to your degree and other documents.
You do about a quarter of what the House Officer does. There is more paperwork and more interaction with patients, and you begin to take more of a lead in how to manage a patient’s condition.
Work as a house officer for about 12 months
As a House Officer, you are the most junior doctor and your work is usually under the supervision of senior doctors mostly consultants and registrars however, you will have a lot of interaction with patients.
And you will be able to experience working in different areas of medicine through clinical attachments over that period of time.
Process of applying to be a House Officer
You start applying to be a House Officer halfway through the 6th year at med school. This happens through a system called ACE. The process goes like this:
- You rank all the District Health Boards (DHBs) you want to work at
- ACE sends your application materials through to those DHBs
- The DHBs rank their preference of applicants
- A little matchmaking occurs
All domestic students generally get a House Officer position through this above-mentioned route.
Getting registered with the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ)
You are granted provisional registration by the MCNZ when you graduate and can apply for full registration once you complete 12 months as a House Officer. Being registered means you can practice medicine anywhere in NZ.
Working as a registrar doctor
Working as a Registrar is the next step up after working as a House Officer. As a Registrar, you’ll have more responsibility with patients and more of a leadership role in your clinical team, answering House Officers’ questions and leading ward rounds when the Consultant is away.
And as the classic saying goes, with more responsibility comes less paperwork.
Another 6 years of specialist training and examinations
While working as a Registrar, you may enter a training program in an area of specialization.
This can take 4-6 years or longer depending on the specialization. Acceptance into training schemes can be competitive, and pass rates for the final exams reduced.
Considering these are doctors who’ve spent the better half of their lives sitting and excelling at exams, this says a lot. But when you do achieve your specialist qualification, that sense of accomplishment will be pretty sweet.
The different steps on how to become a doctor in New Zealand come with different challenges, that is why you are recommended to remain focused on the struggle.
If you don’t give up sooner you will be among the celebrated persons in the field of medicine, so keep the spirit alive.
each of the links we provide is worth visiting for more understanding on how to become a doctor in New Zealand.